BOSTON (CBS) – Jonny Gomes doesn’t get many at-bats, but when he does he certainly makes the most of them.
Gomes launched a 2-2 offering from Padres reliever Luke Gregerson into the Monster seats to lead off the ninth inning, his sixth homer of the season. Gomes did not start the game, coming in as a pinch hitter for the 16th time this season. Of those 16 plate appearances, Gomes has reached base eight times, going 5-for-13 with a double and three home runs.
“You might be able to argue that I always go for the fences; I’ve been swinging hard a lot,” he told reporters after the game. “With the guys coming up behind me, if we can just get the lead-off (man) on, drawing a walk is just as successful.”
Gomes On Walk-Off, Celebration:
“He stays prepared,” Boston manager John Farrell said of Gomes. “He’s got a lot of experience in it and, I guess, a flair for the dramatic.”
Gallery: Red Sox Walk-Off Wins
Gomes was quick to turn the attention to Boston’s pitching staff, which was anchored by seven innings of one-run ball by Jon Lester (whose ERA dropped from 4.61 to 4.41 after the effort) with scoreless innings from Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara out of the bullpen.
“You’ve got to be ready, but you don’t want to be tied in the ninth, if you will,” Gomes said. “With that being said, we need just one run in the ninth, that says a lot about our pitching staff. Jon Lester did an amazing job tonight, Taz coming in with a clean inning. I just had three swings tonight, those guys did a lot of work.”
Last time Gomes sent the Sox and their fans home with a walk-off, he punted his helmet as he rounded third base. This time, Gomes made it look like he was going to give the helmet another boot, but instead tucked it under his arm and powered forward to his awaiting teammates.
But after using the punt and the fake-punt, Gomes might be out of ideas for his celebratory run home.
“I mean, you’ve got to keep everyone on their toes, right?” Gomes said with a smile. “I think I’m all out of tricks now to tell you the truth.”
But Gomes won’t mind if someone else enjoys the walk-off fun next time.
“Whether it is me or someone else, winning is fun. Stuff like that is contagious,” he said.
Gomes now has three pinch-hit homers on the season, the first Red Sox to do that since Bernie Carbo in 1977. Boston’s record for pinch-hit home runs is five, set by Joe Cronin in 1943.
Wednesday night was Boston’s eighth walk-off win of the season, after having just three in 2012.